|Publication number||US5649411 A|
|Application number||US 08/357,743|
|Publication date||Jul 22, 1997|
|Filing date||Dec 16, 1994|
|Priority date||Dec 15, 1994|
|Also published as||CA2138192A1, CA2138192C|
|Publication number||08357743, 357743, US 5649411 A, US 5649411A, US-A-5649411, US5649411 A, US5649411A|
|Original Assignee||Agfa-Gevaert N.V.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (6), Referenced by (17), Classifications (11), Legal Events (9)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates to a method for lighttightly wrapping a stack of photographic light-sensitive sheets and loading such stack by daylight in a lighttight cabinet, and to a photographic sheet stack lighttightly wrapped in back-folded wrapping sheets.
2. Description of the Prior Art
It is known to avoid the use of a darkroom for loading light-sensitive sheets into a sheet processor such as a cassette-loading apparatus, which automatically reloads radiographic film cassettes with a fresh film after an X-ray exposed film has been removed.
These processors usually comprise a film supply magazine in the form of a drawer or the like that can be opened and into which a lighttightly wrapped stack of film is put in daylight conditions. Next, the drawer is closed and an appropriate mechanism cuts or peels the wrapper of the films so that this can be removed from the film stack manually or automatically. One example of suchlike system is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,909,389 relating to a film-sheet package for use in the magazine of a reloader for radiographic film cassettes. The film wrapper is in the form of a sleeve having a sealed flap for engagement by a winding mechanism. The end opposite to the sealed flap has an open flap folded inwardly to lighttightly close the package. Opening of the package occurs by winding the sealed flap by means of a winding mechanism, the film stack as such being withheld, so that the sleeve is stripped from the stack of film sheets.
While this system works satisfactorily for sheetlike materials such as radiographic film, it is unsuited for larger and heavier sheets such as aluminium offset printing plates, that are image-wise exposed in a plate setter. The size of these plates can amount to 81×111 cm, and the weight of a stack of 30 of such plates can amount to 32 kgs.
Attempts have been made to provide a package form that readily lends itself to daylight loading of such plates in a plate setter. However, these package concepts are expensive and/or are ecologically unacceptable.
It is one object of the present invention to provide a method for lighttightly wrapping photographic light-sensitive material and loading it by daylight in a lighttight cabinet, in particular in a plate setter for the image-wise exposure of aluminium offset printing plates.
It is a further object of the invention to provide a novel photographic sheet package which readily lends itself to daylight loading.
In accordance with the method according to the present invention, a method for daylight loading a photographic light-sensitive material into a lighttight cabinet comprises the steps of
wrapping said photographic light-sensitive material in a lighttight wrapper and providing said wrapper with a first lighttight closure near an edge of said material,
providing said wrapper with a clamping, second lighttight closure inward of said first one and capable of taking over the function of the first one,
opening said first closure in daylight and loading said photographic material while its wrapper is still closed by said second closure in said opened cabinet, and
lighttightly closing said cabinet, unclamping said second closure and removing the wrapper at least partly from the light-sensitive material to render the latter accessible to further treatment.
The word "cabinet" stands in the present specification for any device which gives the photographic material some treatment. This may be the loading of a fresh film sheet in radiographic film cassettes, the imagewise exposure of film sheets or plates, as in an image setter, or simply the dispensing of film sheets removed from their package to another apparatus for exposing, developing, rinsing, etc. the sheets.
The lighttight wrapper of the photographic material may be formed by two wrapping sheets sealed to each other along their peripheral margins, but may also be a bag sealed at its opening thereby to provide said first closure.
The inventive method of loading a lighttightly wrapped photographic light-sensitive material by daylight in a lighttight cabinet is also characterised by the steps of clamping a package comprising a light-sensitive material wrapped in a flexible lighttight wrapper having a peripheral lighttight closure the location of which is spaced from the periphery of said light-sensitive material, between clamping means engaging the wrapper of the package along a peripheral clamping zone located between the peripheral lighttight closure of the wrapper and the periphery of the wrapped material to lighttightly clamp two adjacent plies of the wrapper onto each other, opening the lighttight wrapper round about said peripheral clamping zone, and locating the thus clamped and opened package in said opened cabinet, lighttightly closing said cabinet, opening the clamping means and removing the wrapper at least partly from said package to set free said light-sensitive material.
The term "light-sensitive material" stands for sheet- and weblike material. The present description concerns aluminium lithographic printing plates in particular, but it should be understood that any other type of photographic material on a paper, cellulose triacetate, polyester, or glass base, etc. can be used as well in the method of the invention.
In the case of sheet-like photographic material, the sheets or plates can be directly stacked onto each other but they can remain also separated from each other by interleaving foils.
The lighttight clamping of said package can be done by means of two co-operating clamping surfaces that can be urged onto each other, but said clamping can also occur by means of the lateral walls of the base and telescoping cover of a set-up box into which the package is located.
Suitable embodiments of the method according to the invention are as follows.
The lighttight closure of the wrapper is formed by a peelable seal, and the opening of the package occurs by peeling said seal.
The lighttight closure of the wrapper is formed by a non-peelable seal, and the opening of the package occurs by cutting at least one of two adjacent plies of the wrapper along a peripheral line located between the peripheral clamping zone and said seal.
The lighttight closure of the wrapper is formed by back-folded marginal portions of two congruent wrapping sheets. These marginal portions can be backfolded to and temporarily withheld at a position where they remain beyond the reach of said clamping means. These back-folded margins can be withheld from spontaneous unfolding by strips of self-adhesive tape, which can function also as warranty seals.
The present invention includes also a novel photographic sheet package.
In accordance with the invention, suchlike photographic sheet package comprises a telescope type set-up box containing a stack of light-sensitive sheets lighttightly wrapped between two rectangular sheets of wrapping foil of a size larger than that of the sheets, the flaps of skid wrapping extending beyond the package being backfolded on the package and being lighttightly closed near their margins allowing lighttight removal of the wrapped stack from the box and next relocation therein with the flaps unfolded and passing through the adjacent lateral walls of the base and cover of the box, the lighttight closure remaining outside of the box.
According to a suitable embodiment of the invention, the distance between the lighttight closure and the periphery of the stack of sheets amounts to at least four times the thickness of the stack.
The lighttight closure of the wrapping foils can be formed by a heatseal of their corresponding edges, but also by marginal portions of the flaps back-folded onto each other.
The invention will be described hereinafter by way of example with reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein:
FIG. 1 illustrates the principle of the present invention,
FIGS. 2a-2g illustrate a first embodiment of the method according to the invention,
FIG. 3 shows one embodiment of an etui for a sheet package,
FIGS. 4a-4g illustrate a second embodiment of the inventive method, and
FIGS. 5a-5g illustrate the use of one embomdiment of a package according to the invention.
The drawing of FIG. 1 diagrammatically illustrates the principle of the present invention.
A stack of photographic light-sensitive film sheets 50 is lighttightly wrapped between two lighttight wrapping foils 51 and 52 that notably extend over the four lateral sides of the stack. The foils have a first peripheral lighttight closure near their ends as indicated by arrows 53. This closure can be formed by heatseals, folded marginal portions of the wrapping foils, etc.
Next a second lighttight closure is produced that is located between the stack and the first closure, as indicated by arrows 54. This second closure is obtained by clamping the two wrapping foils between suitable clamping means.
Then the wrapping foils are peripherally cut at a location between the first and second closure as diagrammatically shown by knives 56. The second closure takes over the function of the first one so that sheets 50 remain lighttightly protected although the sheet wrapping is in fact opened.
The thus clamped package is now ready for movement into a lighttight device in which the clamping means will be opened and at least one wrapping foil will be (partly) removed so that the sheets can be gripped one by one by a suitable dispensing mechanism for their feeding to a further destination.
Referring to FIGS. 2a to 2g, seven consecutive steps are shown illustrating the execution of a first embodiment of the method according to the invention.
FIG. 2a shows a stack 10 of aluminium lithographic printing plates, which may be conventional printing plates that are blue-sensitive if their image-wise exposure will occur scanningwise in an imagesetter by means of a modulated laser, or red-sensitive if they are intended for being integrally exposed to an original image in an optical camera. Two foils 11 and 12 of wrapping material are used to wrap the stack as shown in FIG. 2b. Foils 11 and 12 are air- and lighttight foils known in the art, such as blackpigmented polyethylene foils either of a single or a multiply composition. The foils have a heatsealable layer facing stack 10 and are heatsealed to each other near their margins to form a peripheral seal 13 whereby the wrapped sheets are air- and lighttightly enclosed, see FIG. 2b. The distance a separating seal 13 from the peripheral edge of stack 10 depends on the type of dispenser, the thickness of the stack, etc. A suitable value of a is between 4 and 10 times the thickness of the pack.
Preferably, the air is removed up to a given degree from the package so that atmospheric pressure firmly keeps the plates together. Interleaving foils can optionally be provided to protect the light-sensitive surface of the plates.
Next, package 9 is put in a box or etui forming a packaging protecting the wrapped plates from common transport conditions. The four wrapping flaps are folded on top of the plate stack, as illustrated for the transverse flaps 14 and 15, and the pack is placed in an etui comprising a bottom 16, a peripheral frame 17 and a cover 18, see FIG. 2c. The etui is shown diagrammatically only, and therefore a more detailed embodiment is shown in FIG. 3 wherein 20 is a corrugated board cut and creased to form the package. After a wrapped stack 9 of aluminium plates has been placed on bottom panel 23, transverse wall sections 24 and 25 are inwardly folded to constitute buffers shown in broken lines 26 and 27. The particular triangular design of the buffers near their corners prevents the corners of the plates from cutting the wrapping material since there is no anvil to cut on. Next, longitudinal wall sections 28 and 29 are folded over the plate stack and the buffers to close the package and keep it that way by means of a suitable adhesive, a self-adhesive tape or the like. An etui as described hereinbefore is disclosed in Research Disclosure 34303 of November 1992.
The etui thus described is opened, the plate pack is taken out and the flaps are unfolded as shown in FIG. 2d.
Then the pack is placed in a clamping arrangement allowing the wrapper to be cut open (see FIG. 2e). This arrangement may comprise a tray-like base 30 and a cover 31. Tray and cover may be separate elements, one embodiment being illustrated in FIGS. 5c to f in the form of a telescope-type box, but they may also be parts of a mechanism arranged in a drawer or the like making part of a lighttight device which in the open position allows the package to be placed in tray 30, mounted e.g. on the bottom of the drawer, cover 31 to be placed in lighttight contact on the tray while withheld by suitable clamping means as shown diagrammatically by clamps 32 in broken lines in FIG. 2f, and then the outwardly extending portion of the wrapper to be cut, as represented diagrammatically by knife 34, and next removed. Lighttight engagement of cover 31 with tray 30 can be improved by a labyrinth-like lock 33.
Tray 30 need not necessarily be a base with upstanding metal walls as shown, but may in its simplest form even be a rectangular framework, open on top and bottom, the four upstanding walls of which co-operate with cover 31.
In a similar way, the function of cover 31 can likewise be performed by a frame-like structure co-operating with the bottom frame to provide uninterrupted clamping surfaces.
The drawer is then lighttightly closed and appropriate means in lighttight device 35 shown in broken lines (see FIG. 2g), open the clamps, lift cover 31, remove the upper wrapper foil 11, and take out the printing plates one by one. Removal of wrapping foil 11 can occur by suction cups or the like but said foil can also have been previously attached with its extending margins to cover 31 by means of strips of self-adhesive tape, by clamps, etc.
The position of the package for its opening is horizontal in FIGS. 2e to g, but it is clear that it may be slanting as well, e.g. tilted 10 angular degrees with respect to the vertical. This has the advantage that the foot print of the device can be considerably reduced and that removal of wrapper 11 can occur occasionally by gravity. The use of gravity may likewise be interesting in case the printing plates are separated from each other by interleaving foils. Removal of a plate causes the thin interleaving foil covering the next plate to slightly buckle by the air withdrawal whereby it can fall over the bottom edge Of the tray into a foil collector.
Removal of the plates from the stack can occur by suction cups, friction fingers or rollers, fingers engaging perforations in one of the margins of the sheets, as known in the art.
FIGS. 4a to 4g show a second embodiment of the method according to the invention which differs from the first one by the way in which the wrapper is lighttightly closed. A plate stack 10 is enclosed between two lighttight wrapping foils 40, 41 that may be similar to foils 11, 12 except for a thermoplastic sealing layer which is not needed in the present embodiment. Marginal portions of the extending flaps of the wrapper are backfolded in small folds 43 which can be temporarily fixed to the wrapper by means of some strips of self-adhesive tape 45 so as not to unroll spontaneously. Closed flaps 14 and 15 (only two of the four flaps being shown) are folded over the stack, and then the package is packed in a holder (see FIG. 4c), which can be an etui as described hereinbefore.
The user of the plates removes plate package 9 from the etui, unfolds flaps 14 and 15, see FIG. 4d, and puts the package in a clamping arrangement 30, 31 that may be similar to the one shown in FIG. 2e. Removal of sealing strips 45 allows unrolling of folds 43 and this opens the wrapper the contents of which, however, remains lighttight because of the closure produced by cover 31 and base 30. The package thus prepared is then moved into a lighttight device 35 as described with reference to FIG. 2g.
FIG. 5 illustrates one embodiment of a package according to the present invention. A stack of printing plates 10 is lighttightly wrapped between two foils 40, 41 with folded marginal portions 43 as described hereinbefore and put in a full telescope set-up box having a base 44, and a cover 46. This box is a package made of non-bending boxboard, having a thickness assuring sufficient rigidity to the loaded box (ja?). The box forms a shipping carton for the sheet pack and can be sealed by a warranty label.
The user opens the box, unfolds flaps 14 and 15 of plate package 9 (see FIG. 5d), and next replaces cover 46 on base 44 (see FIG. 5e). Portions of the wrapping foils deflected by the co-operating lateral walls of the box provide an efficient light lock for the contents of the box.
Then backfolded portions 43 of the wrappers are unrolled after locking tapes 45 have been removed (see FIG. 5f), and the plate pack thus prepared is put in device 35 of a type as described hereinbefore but which has appropriate means for cover 46 to be lifted from base 44.
Opening the package has been illustrated in the present drawings as occurring by means of a simple knife 34, 56 for the sake of simplicity. In practice, safety tools or systems will be used for opening a wrapper, such as a knife-like envelope opener, scissors, a tearstrip, etc.
The invention has been described so far with reference to flat stacks of sheetlike material, but it should be understood that the invention also covers web- and sheetlike material wound into a roll. Suchlike roll can likewise be lighttightly wrapped between two wrapping foils, and then be accomodated in a suitable base allowing lighttight clamping while the wrapping is cut open. Then the clamped roll is loaded into a lighttight unloading device, the clamps are opened and the light-sensitive material can be suitably dispensed from the roll.
|Cited Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
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|Citing Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
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|US20120090280 *||Oct 7, 2011||Apr 19, 2012||Co.Ri.M.A. S.R.L.||Apparatus And A Method For Removing A Sterile Product From A Sterile Package Containing The Product|
|WO2000064747A1 *||Apr 19, 2000||Nov 2, 2000||Glaxo Group Limited||Method for making a buster package|
|WO2011018158A1 *||Jul 24, 2010||Feb 17, 2011||DüRR DENTAL AG||Device for removing radiographic films from a protective sheath|
|U.S. Classification||53/492, 206/455, 53/449, 53/463, 53/381.2|
|International Classification||G03B42/04, B65B11/50|
|Cooperative Classification||B65B11/50, G03B42/045|
|European Classification||B65B11/50, G03B42/04L|
|Dec 13, 1996||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: AGFA-GEVAERT N.V., BELGIUM
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:DIRX, LIEVEN;REEL/FRAME:008270/0466
Effective date: 19941213
|Dec 2, 1997||CC||Certificate of correction|
|Dec 14, 2000||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4
|Jan 7, 2005||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 8
|May 29, 2007||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: AGFA GRAPHICS NV, BELGIUM
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:THEUNIS, PATRICK;REEL/FRAME:019390/0235
Effective date: 20061231
|Jan 26, 2009||REMI||Maintenance fee reminder mailed|
|Jul 22, 2009||LAPS||Lapse for failure to pay maintenance fees|
|Sep 8, 2009||FP||Expired due to failure to pay maintenance fee|
Effective date: 20090722
|Sep 25, 2009||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: AGFA GRAPHICS NV, BELGIUM
Free format text: CORRECTIVE ASSIGNMENT TO CORRECT THE ASSIGNOR FROM PATRICK THEUNIS TO AGFA-GEVAERT N.V. PREVIOUSLY RECORDED ON REEL 019390 FRAME 0235;ASSIGNOR:AGFA-GEVAERT N.V.;REEL/FRAME:023282/0196
Effective date: 20061231